This past March, I travelled to Oxford to cheer on Stefan at an international moot (a mock law trial), and then we spent a week in London on a family vacation. I realize this post is long overdue, but I couldn’t not share our trip with you guys! Oxford is officially one of my favourite places. I fell in love with London a few years back, but Oxford blew my expectations out of the water. It’s charming and quaint and I couldn’t wait to put together this guide to Oxford and London England.
Before our trip, someone told me that there wasn’t much to do in Oxford, so I didn’t have high expectations for it. I was much more excited to go to London afterward. It’s true, there’s not “much to do” in Oxford, but I’m the type of person who just loves to walk around exploring new places, eating at new restaurants and trying out new cafés. And when we weren’t at the moot, that’s exactly what we did.
Me and Stefan’s parents and sister stayed at the Old Bank Hotel on High street. High street and the surrounding area was occupied with gorgeous old buildings, cobblestone streets and beautiful cherry blossom trees. We stayed for a week in London at the Grange Beauchamp Hotel, and it was the perfect location for everything we wanted to see and do! Here are some of my favourite highlights of our trip to Oxford and London, England.
Highlights of Oxford
Oxford University Campus
One of the first places we went when we landed in Oxford was the Pembroke College campus, since that’s where Stefan was staying. It was absolutely stunning. The charming school buildings were situated on vast green courtyards with pretty stone walkways. This is where I truly felt like I was stepping into a magical Potter-esque world. I immediately fell in love with Oxford from this point on and couldn’t wait to explore the city.
The streets of Oxford
As I mentioned above, my favourite thing to do is explore the streets of whatever new city I’m in. I loved the old, colourful buildings all around Oxford. Every afternoon we’d check out a new spot for wine and charcuterie, and every morning we’d grab a pastry and latte from a new café. The streets were lined with shops, museums and churches exposing Oxford’s history.
The King’s Arms
The King’s Arms is a traditional British pub that’s been around since 1606. You can definitely feel the old school charm in the décor and furniture when you dine. The hearty menu serves everything from homemade pies to crispy bacon baked potatoes to traditional beer battered fish and chips. And don’t forget to grab a tasty beer or glass of vino from their extensive wine list.
We ate breakfast at Café Loco for our final day in Oxford. I had a smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese, lemon and cucumber along with a soy latte. Everyone else got classic breakfasts like eggs benny or a full English breakfast, and we all enjoyed every last bite. The café is covered in windows, which creates a bright welcoming atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to spend a morning.
Harry Potter Walking Tour
Minus the fact that it was freezing (and a little rainy) the day we did the tour, it was really cool to explore Oxford guided by a local. Our private tour guide took us around to spots like Christ Church and the New College Cloister. Plus, we got to check out the Bodleian Library, which was the location used for the Divinity School and Duke Humfrey’s Library.
Highlights of London
I went to London in 2014, but this year was the first time I made it to Notting Hill. I love it there so much! It’s such a trendy neighbourhood, studded with cafés, vintage shops and colorful store fronts at every turn. We spent an afternoon perusing shops and stopped in for a slice of pizza at one of the bakeries on Portobello Road.
Farm Girl Cafe
I really wanted to have a coffee on the outdoor patio at Farm Girl (look how amazing it is), but it would have taken us hours to get a table for five (yes, hours). I opted for a photo and a quick glimpse inside. The place was PACKED! I didn’t realize you could get a drink to go until we stopped by on the way back, and had already had my coffee by then. Oh well, there’s always next time!
I had such fond memories of Brick Lane from the first time I visited London, I couldn’t wait to go back. It was and wasn’t like I remembered it. Maybe it was because the first time I went during summer and there were food vendors and musicians playing in the street. It seemed much livelier. My favourite thing about Brick Lane is all the vintage shops, cool cafés and trendy clothing stores. We popped in to Spitalfields Market for lunch and to take a look at the clothing and jewelry vendors inside. It’s a must-visit if you’re in London!
I love the Soho area in London and we found the CUTEST cupcake shop called Crumbs and Doilies, which we stopped at a few hours before heading to the airport. We got mini vanilla rose cupcakes and they were to die for! The small shop is colourful cherry, it makes you want to hang around in there all day.
I loved every second of our trip to England, and although I couldn’t fit it all in this blog (it seriously would go on forever), these two cities are ones I hold so close to my heart and I can’t wait to go back to both of them! Have you been to Oxford/London before? What were your favourite spots and why?
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